You know it's going to be a good day when, during the morning commute, you spot a familiar face on the front page of the New York Times entertainment section.
Taking Over made its world premiere on Berkeley Rep's Thrust Stage in January. Created and performed by Danny Hoch and directed by Berkeley Rep Artistic Director Tony Taccone, it received raves from critics here. Those great reviews helped springboard the piece to other theatres around the country, where Danny and Tony have continued to collect the highest praise.
On Friday night, Taking Over opened at The Public Theater in New York. The Public, you may recall, was the theatre with whom Berkeley Rep partnered to bring Passing Strange to New York, and ultimately, to Broadway.
And then, today and yesterday, the reviews hit:
“A sustained tour de force… the fiery polemical portrait gallery of a play [contains] pulsing, seamless studies of character clashing with context, of people learning to sink or swim in suddenly unfamiliar waters… Mr. Hoch is a specialist in placing invisible people in the line of vision of folks who might otherwise never see them. Marion has too much pride to yell, ‘Look at me!,’ but her creator is happy to raise his voice – loudly and raucously – on her behalf, by bringing her and her spiritual kin into being. The extravagantly talented Mr. Hoch has been channeling the restless souls of the dispossessed and the marginalized since the early 1990s, becoming a boiling one-man melting pot in shows like Some People and Jails, Hospitals and Hip-Hop. Now he is insisting that attention be paid to the endangered species to which Marion belongs. That’s the hard-core group of New Yorkers in Williamsburg, of varying ethnicity and slender means, who have come under siege from a growing army of upper-middle-class invaders.” – Ben Brantley, New York Times
Hoch gives voice to a range of perspectives utilizing a powerful combination of humor and sharply etched portraits...Many of his characters are depicted with humor, such as the revolutionary rapper, Launch Missiles Critical, but it's also true that Hoch reserves the most biting satire for those that can loosely be grouped together as the gentrifiers: a developer, a real estate agent, and an NYU dropout artist now selling her wares on the streets. Even these characters, however, are allowed to make the occasional good point about the positive effects of their presence. --Theatermania
Reviews will continue to appear over the next week. But it looks like it's going to be a good day indeed.
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